Mizoram assembly passed language development board bill

Aizawl, 11 March (Eastmojo): The Mizoram assembly on Thursday unanimously passed ‘Mizo Language Development Board Bill, 2022,' to develop, promote, preserve and enrich the Mizo language and literature.

State education minister Lalchandama Ralte, who introduced the bill said that the bill has been a long-standing aspiration of the Mizo people especially the litterateurs and Mizo writers.

The bill after its enactment would provide the board the absolute authority on the development, promotion, preservation and enrichment of Mizo Language and literature and empowered to undertake any other matters connected therewith or incidental thereto, he said.

The bill was part of the Mizo National Front's manifesto to promote and preserve the Mizo language, he said. "It is our responsibility to protect, promote and develop the land and the language given unto us by the almighty," Ralte said. Although there are some private bodies that undertake the task of developing and promoting the Mizo language and literature, a state's sponsored board is required for meaningful and speedy development, preservation, promotion and enrichment of the Mizo language and literature, the minister said.

Apart from acting as an authority on the preservation, development and enrichment of Mizo Language, the board will publish books, journals and news letters on itself or through its agency, and award outstanding works on poetry, drama, novel and other creative works, he said.

Among others, the board will also sponsor project works like standardizing the sound system of the Mizo language by assigning alphabet to a particular sound or modifying the orthographic system aided by tonal marks; modify and reform mode of writing and punctuation; undertake research works helpful for the growth and development of Mizo language, literature and culture by producing Mizo encyclopedia, standard dictionary, descriptive grammar of Mizo tongue with scientific description of the language; and also establish a specialized library of language and literature equipped with modern technique of audio and visual media for recording sound system and the movement of lips and tongue and such other necessary works.

Chief minister Zoramthanga said that the bill did not intend to impose the language of a dominant Mizo tribe on minor tribes but meant for the unity and integration of all Mizo tribes.

It would not be obstructive for the people living within three Autonomous District Councils in the southern part of the state to promote and protect their own languages or dialects, he said.

It may be mentioned here that there are several Zo ethnic tribes under the Mizo nomenclature, who still speak their own dialects. Since recent times, the Duhlian or Lusei language, which is now referred as Mizo language, has become the lingua franca or common language of all Zo ethnic tribes.

However, there are many ethnic Mizo or Zo tribes, who do not speak what is now called 'Mizo language', but their own languages are integral parts of Mizo languages. After a prolonged discussion involving at least 6 members, including the chief minister, the bill was unanimously passed.

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